Drumming Away to Germany

By Anna Yee

June 21, 2011 Updated Jun 21, 2011 at 10:48 PM CDT

It's many of these teenagers first time flying overseas- for some, their first flight ever.

But you wouldn't be able to tell that looking at their eager faces and packed luggage.

"The fact that they're going to land in Europe and walk historic ground is mind boggling," said Carl Cannon, E.L.I.T.E. Youth Outreach leader.

Cannon's E.L.I.T.E. youth drummers are off to Friedrichshafen, Germany to strut their stuff at the International City Festival.

It's the first time the Pulses of Hope drum line will perform overseas.

To get there, they set a goal to raise $20,000. They made nearly $25,000 giving performances.

"It wasn't hard raising the money," said Cannon. "People of Peoria get behind good causes, and this certainly is an amazing cause."

Chase Krones just graduated from Peoria High School. He is ready to take flight.

"It's where my family's from," said Chase Krones, a Pulses of Hope drummer, "and I can't wait to learn some more about my culture and to learn a bunch of new stuff about where somebody else lives."

Krones and his fellow musicians say goodbye to their families for one week and step into a new world alongside German host families.

"It's showing the international community what Carl has built here in Peoria," said Jana Krones, Chase's mother, "and what kids can be if given the opportunity."

When they return, they'll share their experiences with other young students, passing along the adventure and the positive attitude.

"This is a dream for me to see our kids working," said Cannon. "Keep in mind, I'm a prison guard by trade. My adult life was keeping them in, and now to see what's going on today is just amazing. And I give God all the credit."